An overhead shot of a quart of cooked slow cooker black beans.

Simplest Slow Cooker Black Beans

  • Author: Alexandra Stafford
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups



  • Don’t be afraid to make these ahead of time, as they continue to develop more flavor as the beans sit in their cooking liquid.
  • Olive oil is something I always add to my slow-cooker cooked beans (see here). I think it adds flavor, especially once the beans finish cooking and are cooling in the flavorful cooking liquid. Feel free to omit if you wish.
  • Pepper flakes: if you like a little bit of spice, add the the chili flakes; if you don’t, omit or use less. 1 teaspoon will not make for especially spicy beans, but there will be a nice kick.


  • 1 lb. dried black beans, no need to soak
  • 1 half of a small onion, halved through the core to keep it intact, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and halved
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, optional


  1. Place the beans, onion half, bay leaf, garlic, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, pepper flakes (if using), and olive oil (if using) into a slow cooker. Cover with 8 cups of water. Cover pot. Cook on high heat for 6 to 8 hours or until the beans are done.
  2. Taste. Add more salt to taste. I add 2 more teaspoons, but start with 1 or a 1/2 teaspoon and adjust from there. Note: When you first taste a bean, do not expect to be wowed. The beans develop more flavor as they cool in their cooking liquid, which will continue to season them. As noted above, I find they taste even better on day 2.
  3. Store the beans in their cooking liquid. I love these deli quart containers for this purpose. I freeze the beans in their cooking liquid in these quart containers as well.

  • Category: Beans
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: black, beans, slow, cooker, crockpot, dried